We bought the farm two years ago this week. It’s been quite a ride. This might sound pretty sappy, but our whole reason behind jumping down this rabbit hole has been about creating a place to treat the land, the animals, and people well. Seems kinda Pollyanna, huh?
I started farming back in 2000 mainly because we were meat eaters and wanted to be more responsible about what we ate. I totally get how people agonize over whether to eat meat or not; I even tried to be a vegetarian for a while. It didn’t last for me—I was exhausted and anemic in a pretty short time—but I had come from a family that raised our own meat, and that seemed like the best choice. I started with chickens and then turkeys and pigs.
Wow, it was tough processing animals. Let’s not even talk about the five hours it took to process three roosters the first year (ugh).
It was harder to take on the responsibility. It was so emotionally draining if something (as it inevitably did) happened to them. This sounds ridiculous when we are planning to eat them anyway, right? Not really. Raising an animal for meat means giving it a good life and a quick death. There’s an unwritten contract in there. We’re partners. And when that animal dies because I messed up, it hurts (and not just them).
Coming to this farm felt like a contract, too. If we’re going to belong to a piece of the world, we need to treat it well. I can’t control what happens in the wider world, but I can make sure that the water running off this farm is clean, that the wildlife is happy and healthy, and the blueberry bushes are cared for. I’m even scoping out rebuilding some of the old stone walls. Talk about old school!
It’s not just about land and animals, but people too. People everywhere could use some kinder treatment toward each other and themselves. Chris and I bought this farm with a dream to create a place where people could come and feel at home. Our hope is that people will arrive strangers and leave friends.
We love bringing people together around food, especially meat, because it’s how all these things we care about arrive together in the same place. We care for the land with the animals, and we gather with friends new and old. It fills my heart with joy, and gets me through the days when it seems like the world could use a little more kindness.
Thanks for being part of it.
Let’s finish up with a recipe you can enjoy on a warm summer afternoon!
Rhubarb lemonade recipe:
6.5 cups water
4 cups chopped rhubarb
1 cup sugar (we use a generous squeeze of Stevia instead)
Boil for five minutes (rhubarb will be mushy)
Strain, add ½ cup of lemon juice
(If you’d like to save the rhubarb for later, it freezes well.)
It’s naturally pink and absolutely refreshing!
(Special thanks to our Canadian friend Lise Villeneuve for this recipe—it’s a keeper!)